*** DISCLAIMER THIS POST WAS WRITTEN LAST DECEMBER BUT I’M TRANSFERRING EVERYTHING ONTO THIS BLOG… AND THERE’S NO BETTER DAY TO POST THIS THAN WORLD HOMELESS DAY***
It’s December. At this point in the year many of us are tightly wrapped in our problems like the warm winter jacket we forcibly buckle as we face the chilled winter air. December. A time where we find ourselves lost in the shuffle of life. We race to buy Christmas presents, attempt to meet those seemingly impossible deadlines, and on occasion feel the pounding drum inside our head telling us we drank one too many mulled wines at that Christmas party last night… Or am I alone on the latter?
In the midst of it all our cozy bed beckons us at the end of our tiresome waking hours, its warm embrace comforts us as our eyes slowly shut on the problems of the day. However, some people do not share this luxury, an individual like Tanya. Instead, her problems hang over her like the grey buildings, which loom over the place she has labeled home. The streets.
Tanya struck me with her articulacy and friendly manner and through her carefully selected words she was able to reveal the harsh hand that life has dealt her thus far.
Tanya 31 – “I feel like an exhibit in the zoo”
How did you end up on the streets?
“I have been living on the streets for 9 months with my husband. We ended up here after my husband got sick, which saw us lose our house after he was fired from his job because he had taken too much time off work”.
What has your experience on the streets been like?
“Living on the streets sucks there is no other way too put it, I feel like an exhibit in the zoo. You have to have a very strong mind because it’s very challenging and people just treat the homeless like they’re not human. I am constantly solicited by men and it’s so degrading, they are always offering me money because they think I will resort to that… which I won’t. The occasional person will stop and perhaps give me food or money or even smile at me and it makes my day, especially when I am feeling particularly depressed, people showing me they care makes me feel human and it’s as if I’m momentarily a part of society again”.
Can you provide some background into your personal life?
“Yes of course. Growing up I was in foster care all of my life, but I was also a straight A student throughout high school. I had dreams of going to college but I was married and pregnant by seventeen. My first husband would physically abuse me, and once put me in a coma for two weeks, so I decided to give my baby up for adoption. I now have a great husband and we work together as a team on the streets we also have a son together who is staying with my grandma until we can figure out a way to get back on our feet”.
If you had one hope for the future what would it be?
“That is simple. I am currently trying to save money to get into an apartment so I would love to be settled in an apartment with my husband and son, and I would hopefully be pursuing photography because that has always been a great passion of mine”.
Side note: New York you are undoubtedly magnetic, yet Tanya feels society is repellent against the homeless community. Tanya’s insatiable hunger for simple recognition was apparent throughout my interview and reminded me of one simple fact… treat those around you with kindness regardless of social standing or other factors.
Additional side note: Shoutout to my amazing friend Monika for snapping all of the photos!!
Song on repeat whilst writing: Adele- Million Years Ago